Kyrie Eleison, (Greek for “Lord, have mercy”) is one of the oldest prayers to God known to us. In the very early days of the Church, the Divine Liturgy was first celebrated in Greek. As Christianity spread, Mass was celebrated in Latin, but the familiar and venerated Greek prayer Kýrie, eléison was preserved, as were Hebrew phrases such as “Alleluia” and “Hosanna.” This simple prayer for mercy is timeless. Even though this phrase predates Christian usage, a 4th century nun named Egeria noted that worshipers employed the acclamation during the lamp-lighting ceremony of vespers in Jerusalem.
Christians of all faiths have chanted, sung or spoken these words in supplication for thousands of years.
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